One way that groups tackle the issue of unaffordable housing is by ‘topping up’ the refugee family’s rent. At Reset, we’ve sometimes seen problems arise when groups take this route in terms of setting the expectation for what a family will be able to afford when your group is no longer topping up their rental payment (read our Top Up resource here) so we wanted to understand how often this is actually happening.
We found that around one third of groups are topping up the rent, which means that two thirds of groups have managed to find accommodation that the refugee family is able to afford from their Universal Credit payment each month.
We’ve already seen that using a private landlord is the most common way for groups to source housing. It’s particularly important to note that even in this sector the majority of groups are not paying top up. In fact, in the private rented sector in London more than 70% of groups aren’t paying top up!
It’s important to say here that groups aren’t tapping into a secret stock of cheap housing. Nor are they sourcing housing that is of poor quality (the housing that volunteers source is checked by your local authority and the police before it is approved for a refugee family to move in). Rather, groups are doing a very good job at finding landlords with a social conscience and convincing them to drop the rent for the refugee family for a period of two years. This is a really significant way that groups can advocate for refugee families before they’ve even arrived in the UK.